They both use very similar entry techniques, to relax and calm the mind and become concentrated and peaceful. They are both very powerful self development tools, but that is where the similarity ends.
In my experience of hypnosis the focus is on the subconscious, and in understanding and reprogramming past negative learned behaviours. We enter into very deep concentrative states where we are able to replace bad habits and negative thought patterns from the past with positive, inspiring thought models for the future. Often just becoming aware of a negative thought habit is enough to dismantle it.
Hypnosis makes it apparent again that lots of what we have programmed into our subconscious can be extremely detrimental. It makes us recognise that just because we repeat a thought doesn't make it true, but that is exactly what our subconscious assumes.
I have seen examples where people have recognised compulsive eating habits as a means of hiding oneself or subconsciously taking oneself out of the dating game so as to be free from being hurt in relationships. Or of smoking or drug addictions as a means of punishing oneself over some form of guilt or self-hate. There are so many scenarios where unless we explore our subconscious we keep burying these extremely negative behaviours.
Hypnosis is an extremely powerful tool for dealing with the past, and by dealing positively with the past it can help create very positive futures.
Affirmations can be a form of self-hypnosis where a word or a phrase is repeated over and over as a means of reprogramming our subconscious. They are the most powerful when one is focussed and concentrated but are effective even amidst the hustle and bustle of worries and anxieties.
A simple affirmation, such as ‘calm down, calm down’ can be very effective. More powerfully with silence and full concentration, ‘I love and forgive myself’ might be an affirmation that very simply changes our world.In meditation the focus is on the heart and the soul and the present moment. We leave the past and future and put all of our attention on ‘now’. In the 'now' in meditation we feel expanded and connected with one another and every thing, in calm peace. It is the flow of love, the giving and receiving of love that lies at the heart of meditation.
Meditation simply accepts the past and in that way releases itself from its talons. Whatever has happened, has happened. They are only thoughts and they do not control us. They are simply released if they are destructive and celebrated if positive. It does not usually attempt to reprogram past thought patterns or behaviours rather through the infusion of love in the meditator, it is felt that new, higher thought patterns naturally develop and old habits are released or transformed.
In my view, meditation is the simplest and most effective method of spiritual development. Unlike prayer where we lay out what we believe we need and do all the talking, meditation hands over the process to our heart and soul, or in some cases to God, and says you do the talking and I will listen.
Sometimes in hypnosis it is hard to be clear on what our primary focus should be, on what we need most and so we may be directing ourselves to issues that are not important for this moment. In meditation we realise that by listening and having faith in ourselves, we can be directed and guided the most effectively.
Because hypnosis is grounded in the past it is only able to clear obstructions to our future. Meditation, however, being in the now, the only place we are actually transformed, can work to help us actually evolve now. In this way we simply release our destructive past and elevate the thought patterns, the creators of our future.